Telenor issues notice to govt on 2G

New Delhi: Norwegian mobile operator Telenor today said it has issued a notice to the government seeking damages for cancellation of its licences, but the Department of Telecom (DoT) said it will respond only after receiving notices. Telenor, which owns 67.25 per cent stake in Unitech Wireless through a Singapore-registered unit, said it has served the notice on the government, threatening international arbitration if it were to lose its 22 telecom licences due to the Supreme Court order cancelling 122 licences issues granted in 2008.

"We have not received the notice so far," DoT Secretary R Chandrashekhar told reporters. "We have informed the Government of India of our intent to invoke the provisions of the CECA (Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement) between India and Singapore," Telenor spokesman Glenn Mandelid said in an emailed statement today. On being asked if it will legally tenable for Telenor to invoke the provisions of CECA, Chandrashekhar said it is to be seen as they have not received the notice yet.

"Let`s wait and see, we have not received any notice as yet," he said. Separately, Corporate Affairs Minister M Veerappa Moily said the legality of the notice would be examined within the parameters of Indian law. "I am yet to see the letter… There is a thing like a rule of law. Whether you go to international law… but we will have to examine within the parameters of our law and the law of the land," Moily said.

Though Telenor did not indicate the compensation it is seeking. "We do intend to seek compensation for all investment, guarantees and damages. We are hopeful that it remains the government`s intent to protect and encourage bona fide foreign investment in the country," Mandelid said.